By Sailu Bah
“As a major focal point and one of the first entry points in the Gambia, this car park serves passengers traveling both inside and outside the country,” explained the drivers.
The drivers said the car park should have been spacious with lots of facilities to make it easier for both passengers and the drivers to facilitate their movements.
According to them, sometimes travelers come to the car park to spend the night when the borders are closed and they find it very difficult to find a shed to relax.
The high cost of fuel is also a concern to the drivers. “The cost of fuel is also a big concern for us, because fuel has increased many times this year without any corresponding increase of fares which is really affecting those of us who cover long distances,” said one of the drivers who spoke to this medium on condition of anonymity.
Njie Manka, President of the Gambia National Transport Union at Barra/Amdalai and the head of the Car park, acknowledged the concerns raised by drivers on the limited space of the car park and high cost of fuel.
Mr. Manka said the cost of fuel is a global problem and that there is nothing he can do about it for he is answerable to the Gambia Transport union, adding he works in accordance with the rules and regulations that govern the Union.
He added that he cannot take decisions on the issue of increment in fares, but only to channel it to the Union for better solution.
He said if anytime fuel increases and they also increase fares, it would not help the commuters. He however pleaded with the drivers to be patient and expressed hope that changes will come on the fuel issue.
On the issue of the limited space at the car park, Mr. Manka said it is a major concern to him; noting that vehicles are diverting to other routes due to that factor and lack of proper facilities. This he continued, is not good for their business because they also earn income from the drivers that come to the car park.
“We have a big land allocated to us by the people of Amdalai some years back, which is not far from the main high way and the land is about 300 by 200 square meters. The only problem is, we cannot afford to build it due to inadequate finance and we have been seeking for support from the Area council to help us build it, but still to no avail,”said Mr. Manka.
Mr. Manka added that if good structures and proper facilities are built on the land, it would help the drivers as well as the passengers going in and out of the country.